Here's What Really Happens When You Take Over the Thanksgiving Feast

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Inside Amy Schumer / Comedy Central

Anyone who has a partner will tell you that balancing the holidays is an art form. Keeping both sides of the family satisfied, even before you have children, can be challenging. For Mother's Day and Father's day, one gets breakfast and the other gets dinner. Christmas is even easy in our house: The eve of the holiday is spent with one family, while Christmas Day is spent with the other. But then there is the only holiday you cannot evenly divide: Thanksgiving. 

This is particularly challenging if you're a married only child, because that means either you or potentially your spouse's parents are going to be alone for the feast. 

  • Being the "fixer" that I am, I decided to come up with the only rational solution: I'd take on hosting.

    thanksgiving dinner
    iStock.com/PeopleImages

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    I figured that I had the space, I had the cooking skills, and this way no set of parents would feel left out of festivities. And hey -- hadn't our moms respectively complained each year they had to host? I'd be doing them a favor -- nay, I'd be SAVING the holiday for the entire family. This was the perfect answer. 

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  • Feeling like a domestic goddess, I invited each set of parents (and even a few aunts) over for our first feast.

    I grew up in a home where tensions ran slightly high around the holidays, so the thought of taking over one, lifting the chaos off our families, was actually the less stressful option to me. Both sets excitedly volunteered bringing a side; I committed to making the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and a few desserts. I made a specialty cocktail, and everyone seemed genuinely thankful to leave the hosting burden behind. 

  • Unfortunately, that quickly changed once the day actually arrived.

    As I greeted my mother with open arms and began helping her with her coat, the first words out of her mouth were:

    "Oh I can't believe you took this holiday away from me."

    Uh ... pardon? I shrugged it off, thinking she meant it in a sarcastic way; after all, wasn't this the woman who once skipped the family meal because she was so frustrated she had to cook it?

    Sadly, I was wrong. A million sordid passive-aggressive comments and judgments filed in -- and not just from her.

    "Wow, are you sure this is going to be enough food for all of these people," an aunt inquired.

    "That sure is a tiny table, I wonder how we'll all fit," an in-law noted.

    "Well, I typically make my pumpkin pie with real pumpkin..."

    And believe me, the list went on. 

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  • Basically by the end of the night, this was me.

    What happened? I spent a ton of money and hours making sure this was a special holiday. Why were they finding problems with everything? Why were they judging everything from how I decorated to the way I packed up leftovers?

  • The truth is, I had to remember none of the criticisms I received were actually personal.

    Perspective (and lots of therapy) has taught me that when your parents criticize you, they are just projecting while grappling with the fact that the roles are shifting. 

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    Changing over holidays is a little like a loss for them. They are conceding you're grown up, and sort of steering the familial ship. And while that certainly doesn't excuse nasty behavior, it does at least make it more bearable. 

  • At least, that is exactly what I'll be telling myself all throughout this year's dinner. Which of course, I am hosting.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 

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